The Technology Will Provide Tools to Keep Buildings Performing at Peak Efficiency

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-05-22 Print this article Print

When the system is fully integrated, tenants will be able to view the performance of their buildings on dashboards with real-time metrics on energy savings and recommendations on how to further increase efficiencies. In the first year, 50 buildings will be integrated on this building management system. As additional federal buildings are constructed and other facilities are upgraded, those buildings will also be managed with this platform. The new technology will give property managers real-time information and diagnostic tools to keep buildings performing at peak efficiency, increasing cost savings across the federal building portfolio.

€œWe are at a tipping point in terms of advancing the greening of our buildings and making them smarter,€ IBM Vice President of Industry Solutions Dave Bartlett said in a statement. €œWhen you look at buildings holistically, with end-to-end visibility across all systems, you can more clearly see the connections, the interactions and opportunities for efficiency among the various systems. Using analytics, we can make better decisions about how to best visualize and optimize these systems. The data exists€”it's a matter of understanding and responding to what the data is telling us, and that's what we're helping GSA to do.€

€œGSA is implementing a smart building strategy to take advantage of greater tenant satisfaction, reduce energy cost and environmental impact, and decrease operational inefficiencies,€ according to the GSA Website. €œThese advantages will assist GSA in meeting all executive orders and guidance, meet current GSA administrative goals and objectives, and prepare GSA for future building technologies, security issues and tenant requirements.€

Safety and security are among the primary concerns that smart buildings address. GSA describes a smart building safety scenario:

A fire situation is perhaps the most commonly cited example of how GSA smart buildings are beneficial. The alarms sound and other building systems begin to react: Exhaust dampers open, the IP paging and intercom system issues instructions to occupants, the access-control system unlocks doors for evacuation, and CCTV cameras provide emergency responders with a view of the fire.

Intelligent buildings offer life-safety enhancements in other emergencies as well. An earthquake sensor or signal from the national geological service can be connected with building systems for facilities in seismic zones. In the event of an earthquake, an integrated building can automatically shut off gas lines, shut down computers and automatically notify occupants of the earthquake.

Security becomes mobile in intelligent buildings. Wireless surveillance cameras and a Web-enabled security system allow guards to view live video from a laptop or pocket PC.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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